It’s Been A While... Acoustic Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Gear Chat' started by pdcorlis, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. pdcorlis

    pdcorlis Well-Known Member Supporting Member+ Supporting Member

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    Well, I hope you all had a great 4th of July... here’s a quick update on my quest for a “couch” guitar...

    Here are the top three that I think I can find locally to try before I buy...

    1. Washburn
    2. Taylor Mini E
    3. One of the Yamaha offerings in this category... Anyone... Anyone...

    Thanks for all the help!
     
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  2. stevebway

    stevebway Metaphysician & Ham

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    Yamaha's APX 2 is too small and limited acoustically to be a truly satisfying "couch" guitar. It is amazing amplified and I have gigged it many times because it's an oddity but it does not project much. It's has the thinnest body of the Minis.
    The CSF3M I just purchased is amazingly powerful for its size. It sounds like a smaller regular sized guitar. They have a laminate model CSF1M for $399 which is pretty nice. Yamaha's been somewhat late to the small guitar craze probably because they have been researching it and have also been committed to the FX on-board TA series. I wouldn't be surprised to see a cutaway model come out soon.
    3c23.jpg
    If you want SMALL , this is the one...

    CSF1M :
    CSF1M.jpg
    Laminate version of the one I got. Pretty freakin' nice. I have no beef against laminates.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  3. nomadh

    nomadh Well-Known Member

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    The ibanez artwood thin finish mahogany line has really stood out to me. Dont recall the model number but they do have a dread and a parlour model with cutaway and electronics. I've been trying dozens recently. Alvarez, yammy, masterbuilt, washburn, seagull, breedlove. And comparing to the big 2 taylor and martin. I really want a $1k+ martin performer series or a 200 series taylor. 1k is sort of my crazy limit and more expensive models had very limited returns. After playing those I mosied back to the cheapies. Up into $600 even. There is a lot of truth that the "cheap" taylors are still very taylor sounding and playing but they sure try to punish you with how cheap they look. Maybe almost the same for martin X series. But going back to the cheap seats I keep really enjoying that ibanez artwood thinfin hogany. It just played so well and made me do new things. Another surprising one to me was a highend mitchell (still <300) Also thinfinished raw feeling body but very resonant, great playing with a flame maple binding that made a cheap raw finish look very special. I expected the all mahogany artwood to be very bassy but it has a great broad spectrum tone and the playability was right up there.
     
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  4. stevebway

    stevebway Metaphysician & Ham

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    FullSizeRender.jpg This is my Ibanez mini. It is the all solid Mahogany one $199. The laminate is $129. Their thin finish is very nice , seemingly nonexistent. The top is a pretty mottled unattractive piece of wood but I think it's more about the stain than the quality. It's a cheap guitar but very comfortable to play. I put the 3 transducer K&K in it myself and it sounds very acoustic-y and pleasing thru my pedal. I actually like a bit of quack from a Piezo which aids in the percussive picking style I do. They have a whole range of Mahogany both solid and laminate and are very well set up and stable. I recommend these pretty highly. Ibanez has a huge line now and seem fully committed to acoustics. This is a nice un-complex couch guitar.
    IMG_7474.JPG

    Not that big on Dreadnoughts , even teeny ones though but this one is a cutie and a keeper.
    To eliminate quack plugged in, move to a thinner pick which makes a huge difference.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  5. howardlo65

    howardlo65 Well-Known Member

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    The Ibanez Artcore AC240 (solid mahogany top, laminated mahogany sides and back) is a OOO size (my favorite sized acoustic) It has become my favorite to play of my many acoustics. Great feeling neck. Works well for strumming and finger picking. One guy over on the Acoustic Guitar Forum owns one and also a Martin OOO-15M (same size, same satin finish, but with solid mahogany back and sides and $1000 more than the Ibanez. He said that to be truthful he liked the Martin just a little more than the Ibanez.
     
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  6. voodoorat

    voodoorat Well-Known Member

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    just spent some time in the acoustic room at the local gc and while it mostly just reaffirmed my suspicions (martins and taylors sound really nice, i like the feel of taylors a little better but my two favorite sub-$1k guitars were one martin and one taylor), i happened to pick up one of those yamaha csf3m's and it really surprised me, comparably to how the taylor gs mini surprised me the first time i picked one up (i picked up a few of those tonight also and they were all excellent but i wasn't surprised). i was surprised by how weak the small martin was by comparison, it felt and sounded like a toy.
     
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  7. WC286

    WC286 Active Member

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    I had one of the Little Martin all HPL model and never cared for the sound...sold it. Thinking about the new Yamaha Parlor or the Ibanez AC240...gas is rising....
     
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  8. stevebway

    stevebway Metaphysician & Ham

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    I kinda like the HPL instruments as the sound is very "Martin-like". Small guitars ALWAYS sound smaller. The evolved X-Bracing brings out as much tone as is possible but small is small. The Taylor Min-e and some of the small Martins sound just great. HPL is the future of instruments. HPL is much like Formica . Sheets of a paper-like material are impregnated with a resin topped with a photo pattern and then a clear often textured plastic layer and pressed under heat and pressure to a laminate. The problem is that while it is extremely resonant and makes pleasing sounding instruments, if it falls or is hit hard it shatters in sharp sheet-like layers , jagged and flakey. It is very hard to repair if you can at all and is almost impossible to be restored to it's former appearance like wood can. Also the bridges are typically bolted on or pinned and glued with epoxy. It does not have the same response to heat and cold as wood does although they are way less susceptible to the elements and you can paddle your canoe if you need to because they are water resistant. This is really the biggest drawback.
    I own many guitars and take very good care of mine.If you are careless , get drunk a lot or have idiots play your guitar carelessly , an accident can destroy it. HPL guitars are much cheaper than wood but you wouldn't want to have to chuck it because it's irreparable. Not really a problem if you are careful.
     
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  9. WC286

    WC286 Active Member

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    I did have a DX1 model Martin dread, HPL back, sides and neck but spruce top, I liked the sound of it quite a bit but traded it a few years back...
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  10. stevebway

    stevebway Metaphysician & Ham

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    With HPL mj.jpg They tend to be a little on the heavier side. I have a cheapo Chinese HPL mini Jumbo ( Carlo Robelli ) . Out of the box a POS . Fret ends , somewhat of a hump @14 , very ugly poorly done fretboard . I spent hours and hours with it , humidifying, filing, adjusting, nut filing, saddle,blackening fretboard, installed a cheap ( $39) Fishman magnetic pickup , endpin jack. Everyone loved the way it looked but it played like shit. Over literally the entire winter I didn't give up on it and now it's a player and VERY assertive because of the magnetic pickup. I play it almost every day.VERY ( unusually resonant)
    Now that I know it shatters like glass I know who I can smash over the head with it ( I have a short list )

    I was in SA in Manhattan one day , saw the Robelli and I picked it up.It sounded great in the store. Now it's a real player.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  11. nomadh

    nomadh Well-Known Member

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    @stevebway , wanted to ref a blast from the past here. You mention a solid wood ibanez for 200. I'm not finding anything like that. In fact although I recall them having one and it being more towards 600+ I now find no reference to anything like that.
    I think 1 time I played an AC 340CE and I liked it I now see they aren't carried anywhere where I can try one again. And even then they go for $400 now.
    I have tried the aw54ce and liked the sound iirc and the price is great at 180 but it didnt play as well and I really am also liking the smaller bodied guitars.
    There is the AC240 opn at $300 but I really wanted a cutaway.
    AE245jr opn at $429 also looks nice but thats getting up there in price especially when I cant find one to play.
    I really like to play the 80/20 rule and it works great for electrics but it is maddeningly frustrating how linear the the price/quality points are on acoustic guitars.
     
  12. stevebway

    stevebway Metaphysician & Ham

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    THis one is an upgraded version:
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/AW54JROPN--ibanez-artwood-aw54jr-open-pore-natural

    That one is on my list. Takamine has a couple small ones as does Alvarez.
    I like the Ibanez which is on my "list". The one posted above has a solid top. You'd have to put your own pickup in.
     
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  13. OMB

    OMB Well-Known Member Supporting Member+

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    The Ibby has a solid top but laminated sides and back. Nothing wrong with that.
     
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  14. nomadh

    nomadh Well-Known Member

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    Damn @stevebway , the 54jr is still ANOTHER one I didn't run across but yes @OMB it looks to be a laminate b/s.
    It IS solid mahogany. It IS a solid top but the b/s spec just says mahogany.

    I also found this once I looked up torrified because I recalled a model like that.
    Ibanez AVC9CEOPN Grand Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar Natural

    If a lighter thinner top can be more resonant what would a torrified top be like?
    Still not solid wood but Could be very nice



    The grand concert body shape of the AVC9CE, along with its Thermo Aged mahogany top with Thermo Aged spruce X bracing and a shorter scale delivers a wide dynamic sound when strumming and a quick response when fingerpicking, thanks to the light weight Open Pore Natural finish. The mahogany top/back/sides body construction creates a rich, bright and balanced tonal character, while the tortoiseshell body binding gives this guitar a true vintage vibe. The mahogany soft-V shape neck in satin finish with an ovangkol fretboard provides playing comfort. Open gear tuners with butterbean knobs (18:1 gear ratio) ensure accurate, stable tuning and help reduce the headstock weight, while bringing vintage vibe in its looks. A bone nut and saddle are chosen for its ability to transfer the string vibration naturally. A Fishman Sonicore Pickup accurately translates that full sound to whatever amplification system you plug it into, while the Ibanez AEQ-SP2 preamp provides the extra punch of an onboard EQ, and the convenience of an easy-to-read digital tuner located on the upper bout.

    Artwood Vintage Series
    The "modern approach to acoustic guitar tradition" has long been Ibanez's catchphrase for the Artwood series. Artwood Vintage steps even further back in history and borrows the best features of highly desired vintage instruments.

    The Artwood Vintage series now showcases another vintage element by applying an "aging" process to the tonewood — "Thermo Aged" tonewood, made by a special drying process at a high temperature which is commonly known as "baking" or "torrefaction". Only choice selected and seasoned tonewood can be cured to Thermo Aged wood. The wood is heated in a vacuum with a specific recipe for each kind of the wood in order to release water and decompose resin contained within the wood. As a result, Thermo Aged tonewood becomes light, hard and stable like tonewood dried for decades, while providing amazing response and a louder sound. The tone character includes a full-bodied low-end and a great smooth sustain in the treble strings which are common features of vintage guitars.

    Case sold separately.

    Features
    • Thermo aged solid top
    • Tortoiseshell body binding
    • Ibanez Advantage bridge pins
    • Balanced XLR and 1/4 in. outputs
    • Open pore finish
    • D'Addario EXP strings
    • Dovetail neck joint
    Specifications
    Body
    • Body type: Grand Concert/OO
    • Cutaway: Single
    • Top wood: Thermo aged solid mahogany top
    • Back and sides: Mahogany
    • Bracing pattern: X
    • Body finish: Open pore
    • Orientation: Right handed
     
  15. Tiga

    Tiga Well-Known Member

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    That Ibanez Dread Jr. looks the business. I'd love to play it and see how it stacks up to my Martin Dread Jr. I love that it has the arm bevel - kind of wish they all had that.
     
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  16. stevebway

    stevebway Metaphysician & Ham

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    I take few if any points away for laminate . They have thin pressure laminates that are very stable. They take a pickup well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
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  17. nomadh

    nomadh Well-Known Member

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    Just spent 3 hours comparing. 2 libby 340 s and this time I'm not impressed.
    2 different epi masterpieces great specs but they just seem to fight me. One didnt ring the other had no depth. And both fairly stiff feeling. A taylor 110 played well but a 214 felt dead. Martin x played well and sounded good but it's hard to fall in love with plastic. There was a big weird maple jumbo epi that had some song in it but I want something more lively. Probably the winner of the night was a nice laminate (I think) Yamaha A1M. Played well sounded good, articulate, maple binding.
    Maybe.
    How many dead ones are because of strings or a touch of action. How many times have I thought I found a player and it was just downtuned. Do i like Taylor's or just elixiers.
    I dont know, after 3 hours I was burnt.
    Now I'm more confused than when I started a year ago.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
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  18. stevebway

    stevebway Metaphysician & Ham

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    The actual guitar tone in my value system is way down on the list compared to overall feel, neck feel and electronics. If you have spent 20 years playing Martin Dreads and you play a concert sized instrument or a modern design like a Taylor there are going to be major tonal habits having to be broken. I have an A1 concert guitar with cutaway. It is identical to my solid wood Yamahas feel wise.Now that I'm on the small guitars it has made my full scale instruments "obsolete". I feel so much freer and more confident performing with a small guitar.
    For me personally a guitar is more feel than anything, an emotional thing. When I've tried to "left-brain" it , compare features I get into overwhelm. Because I'm somewhat hard of hearing, sound is not weighted as high.
    " What do I REALLY want ? " this is the unanswerable but essential question to meditate on.
     
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  19. howardlo65

    howardlo65 Well-Known Member

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    Just throwing this out there. I bought one of these for the same price, but from a different seller (zzsounds), a couple weeks ago. Amazing deal for an all solid wood guitar with bone nut and saddle, checkerboard front binding, center stripe and rosette, triple binding on the back, headstock and neck, great electronics, ebony bridge pins and a really nice Fender hard shell case. Beautiful MOP and abalone headstock inlays. It is a small guitar, but sounds great.

    The one I bought from zzsounds is all solid mahogany including the top. The one at the link below shows the mahogany top, but the description says natural, which is spruce, and is what they have been shipping. Originally these were selling for $699 with the HSC. Really happy with mine, just fun to play and sound really nice, plugged in or unplugged. Beautiful guitars. Never had even considered a Fender acoustic before, but these Fender Paramounts are nice. I have been playing it a ton since it arrived.
    https://www.americanmusical.com/Ite...s8zQmljkcKrScNO2KZAugET6uAsYrjZQaAj5LEALw_wcB
     
  20. nomadh

    nomadh Well-Known Member

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    I think feel for me is number 1 too. First it feels right then I listen to it. But I'm sure at least some of the time a tone I hit subconsciously sways me also. Its sort of like trying to analyze why you feel love.
    I did grow up on dreads. But learned to love the little models playing my cheap but excellent silvercreek.
    But maybe I was just going back to old tonal habits but at least a lot of it was there are just so many more dreads out there and they tend to run cheaper Im finding.
     
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